Going after big mud rotary work, PanTerra Energy is often hired after someone has been unsuccessful. But their powerful equipment isn’t the only source of the Colorado-based company's success.
“Our success is due to our equipment, diversification of services, and ability to train and produce quality people,” Skyler Wilson, operations manager, said.
PanTerra's ability to easily mobilize — at interstate speeds — their fleet of smaller, light weight rigs also contributes to increased demand for their services, prompting purchase of a new DM450.
“Even with COVID-19, the majority of the drilling market has been really, really busy," Mike Ryan, owner, said. "We'd have never survived if we just did geothermal once the tax credit went away. But in the last 14-15 months there's been an uptick in the school and university market, and we continue to grow our other service lines."
When comparing their 2020 DM450 to their 2015 model, improvements include rollers on the carriage and sleekly laid out hydraulic lines, while the manual hydraulic controls provide the power and precision Wilson has come to expect from DRILLMAX® rigs.
“The rigid drill mast design drills straighter holes,” Wilson said. “The redesigned rod spinner increases efficiency tripping out of the hole.”
SPEED FOR GEOTHERMAL
The speed and ability of the single rod loader to keep adding pipe make the DM450 well suited for the geothermal jobs.
“On average the DM450 is 1.5 times faster than our red rig,” Wilson said. “Just the top head movement on the red rig takes twice as much time as swinging the rod handler. Once you’re out of rod in the red rig carousel, adding pipe takes 10 times as long.”
Driller Sawyer Weaver was impressed with the speed and efficiency of the DM450 to keep up with the “geo-pace of drilling four to five holes a day not just working on one water well hole for four or five days.” He boasts the DM450 accomplished more than the combined footage of three other rigs on a geothermal job in the Rockies.
POWER FOR CATHODIC PROTECTION
Completing 8 to 12-inch diameter holes, 300 to 1,000-feet deep is standard for cathodic protection. PanTerra has done 10-inch to 320-feet, drilling the hole in one day and coming back to clear the hole the second — keeping production right on schedule. Wilson credits the 5.5 X 8 mud pump for their success.
“We have the pressure to lift heavy cuttings out of the hole. It’s close to putting out the volume of a 4 X 3, but with 200-250 psi pressure to clear the hole,” Wilson said. “We’re able to muscle in the hole to depth and clean up afterwards.”
The demand for cathodic protection services takes PanTerra to 15 different states in order to meet the needs of their customers.
"We're not a big company, but have a significant footprint," Ryan said. "We're a people first, equipment second company."
Having a central U.S. service center nearby provides peace of mind. A recent stop in Kansas added valuable training for their driller.
“The engineers exchanged knowledge with the driller as to why the rig was designed a certain way. The driller shared our field challenges,” Wilson said. “This will probably help someone down the road.”
Weaver, the driller, was impressed with the engineering team.
“There were a lot of smart ideas being discussed. The DRILLMAX® engineers offered solutions done right, not just bandaids,” he said.
For Ryan, engineers receptive to driller feedback for product improvement distinguishes DRILLMAX® from other manufacturers.
"It's not always the case that engineers have an open mind to suggestions from drillers," he said. "DRILLMAX® engineers seem to really be interested in feedback from the field. When it comes down to it, it's about people. The DRILLMAX® commitment to make things right is important."
Four decades ago Michael Barlow began installing pumps and drilling wells with one rig. He diversified into commercial geothermal projects in the early '90s. Today MICHAEL BARLOW DRILLING & SERVICE INC. completes as much service volume as drilling. This i
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